with Madeleine McMullin

Spat over working hours in Canet

Bernard Martinez, the deputy departmental secretary for the local government employees union (FAFPT) is angry with the mayor of Canet-en-Roussillon’s plans to up the working hours of some employees to the legal maximum of 1607, rather than the 1575 that they work at present. This would mean them working 3 days a year more according to Mr. Martinez. A report from the regional chamber for accounts encouraged this increase. M. Martinez is objecting particularly for those employees that work unsocial hours, but Bernard Dupont, the mayor accuses him of interpreting the law in a way that suits him. The mayor is proposing to bring the hours into line with the law and to adapt them according to the department where the employee works. For example municipal police officers could make up the time in the summer.

Graffiti again on the yellow train

Two coaches of the train which had just been renovated in the Beziers workshops have been decorated with tags by graffiti “artists”. SNCF has made an official complaint to the police but there are no CCTV cameras in Villefranche where the train, part of the local heritage and a Catalan symbol was damaged, so it is unlikely that the perpetrators will be caught. The train is defaced fairly regularly, notably in 2015 when it was graffitied 3 times in a month and a half. Mr. Bartoli, spokesperson for the users committee blamed the lack of security and bad lighting on the line particularly at Latour de Carol and Villefranche.
In the meantime the graffiti in the tunnel under the train tracks in Perpignan station has been officially inaugurated. It was done by 3 of the best graffiti artists in France recruited by the International Street Culture Union.

App for Perpignan Méditerranée Métropole

The urban community of Perpignan Méditerranée Métropole has launched an app which was developed with Orange. The app which has been launched by all 36 municipalities in the community is meant to simplify the lives of the inhabitants, and tourists, by answering questions on public transport, traffic conditions, canteen menus, sporting and cultural events and promotions in bars and restaurants. It is also to allow each town hall to respond to the concerns of its citizens. The app is free and has versions for both Iphone and Android. It was developed at a cost of €250,000 per app and will cost €90,000 pa to maintain.

3 Catalan members of parliament employ their family

François Calvet, Republican senator, Robert Olive, PS deputy and Fernand Siré, Republican deputy all employ members of their family: the first his wife for 20 years, the second and third their daughters. All 3 of them say that their family members are properly employed and perform actual work in exchange for the money. Olive’s daughter is on a 10 month temporary contract replacing his old attaché who went to join Ségolène Neuville when she became a minister.

End of free school computers

Occitanie councillors will vote on 2nd February to end the policy of giving a free laptop to every school child in collège. The aim is to harmonise the two systems inherited from the former regions. Languedoc Roussillon gave a free computer to everyone; Midi Pyrénées only to those from low income families. The new policy will see pupils whose schools have applied and proved that they are running a digital course where computers are needed will be allowed to have free computers, as well as kids from modest backgrounds whose families would have difficulty providing them with a computer at home. There will be a sliding scale with only the poorest families getting a free computer, and others being expected to contribute to the cost.  Not all teachers are happy about the proposal: some of them had incorporated the laptops into their classes, even to the extent of using downloadable text books rather than printed ones.

Madeleine McMullin lives in Palalda from where she runs her marketing business Marketing66.  She has worked both in the UK and abroad, with big brand names in the interiors and design industries such as Wedgwood, Denby, Sebastian Conran, Laura Ashley, Hemingway Design……..

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